Finally found time to put all this together..... Well, I've had the opportunity to have a dang good demo of a 25hp Kohler 61" Great Dane Chariot LX. Although this is not a top brand here, I though my experiences were worthy of entering into the old info bank here because little has been written about them since the John Deere buy-out and the design changes.... Well to begin with, this machine was all out of whack adjustment wise when I picked it up. So I went through the deck adjustments to get it set up properly. The U-bolt adjusters between the chains and the deck are nice. It makes the adjustments easy, as do the threaded rod linkages. So I was all set to go with this deck.... which had a good 90 hours on the blades. Dull isn't even the word. Anyways, I really really had my doubts about this new deck, because while it is constructed really well and built of all 7 guage.... it just doesn't look like it's capable of cutting anything. This is because it is made with a built-in anti-blowout lip on the leading edge of the deck. This baffle traces the arc of the blade and the blade itself hangs just a hair below it. To my suprise, even despite the super dull blades, this deck actually proved to be the best part of the machine and also one of the best I have used. It's a great improvement over the old deck. It cuts great, discharges great, and stripes great. It also works great in the wet. It operates clean with no front blowout of clippings. I TAKE BACK ALL MY ASSUMPTIONS AND ALL I'VE SAID ABOUT IT. There is also a box section at the front of the deck. There is a flow control baffle welded in to the deck top and blow-out baffle. Although you can't see it, the flow control baffle is in there and sorta Gravely-like in shape. It does not hug the arc of the blades as closely as the rest. This is good and bad I guess. This is because there is a ledge across the whole front of the deck. This area clogs up when cutting wet stuff. This is a real pain to clean out, but with the extra space, it doesn't seem to effect the cut quality. The areas behind the little L things pack up also. So cleaning this deck out is no easy task. Atleast the top is smooth and bolt free. As for the rest of the machine, the basic style is pretty much the same as before. But the whole frame design has been changed and it is now constructed differently. Everything is still nice and low as shown here. Overall, the whole machine is low, but things actually are not mounted as low as they seem. As seen here, the engine and stuff is mounted on up there. Not having over the tire tanks sorta plays tricks on the eyes. But the fact that it doesn't have them is also a pretty nice feature. Nothing in the way and nothing to worry about. This along with the rear track width of 53-54" ....the leftover amount of the 61" deck out past the tires and the good controls makes this one of the nicest trimming machines I have used. You can trim all the way around a mailbox without bumping into anything. I just don't like the fact it is a single fill tank with no gage. But I still prefer this to the over tire tanks. The machine I used had the old style sticks that come up between the legs. I figured that I would hate them. But actually I really like these controls a lot. Not only were the hydros pretty good, but these controls make driving the machine a pleasure. Controling the machine and doing proper zero turns is a breeze. You are also not trapped under the sticks like you are on other machines. The only parts I found annoying is that you do have to watch the family jewels while getting on and off. You also have to look and push the controls to the neutral position to get it started. But for me, the biggest thing was that I had a real tendency to drive off with the brake still on. I never did get into the swing of doing it right for some reason. I guess I'm in the habit of the way the other machines work. The machine did pretty well on hills too. But it was either like glue or gone. Very hard to feel and judge when the limit was near. Every time was a surprise. But it does hang in there pretty well. This is not even the wider more stable LX shown here. While running it on slopes, I also noticed another nice feature of this mower. It has a beveled rear end. I never hit or drug it once starting up slopes or off of them into the flats. Nor did it ever hit anywhere working around ditch lines. In the end though, one thing prevented me from even considering this mower for purchase. That is the fact that the deck lift and linkages are poorly engineered. When doing all the deck adjustments, I became aware that it was physically impossible to get the machine to cut higher than 3 3/4" at maximum height. The reason being is that the bolts that hold the chains on the lift links (blace pieces) make contact with the threaded rod at this height. Furthermore, even if a lot of fabrication was done to correct this, it still would not be able to lift much higher. Great Dane uses some really tall spindle shafts and on the 61" deck there is a brace of some sort running between two routing pulleys. That brace would make contact with the rear cross axle of the lift if raised another 1/2" or so. So all in all, I think it's a pretty good product that is pretty poorly executed. I think John Deere should get more involved. The deck lift issues could be easily resolved. The wheel base of the 61" machine could be shortened a good 4-5" and the battery really really needs to be relocated. I'd also like to see those little L kickers as bolt in pieces. Plus it would not hurt to have a more positive neutral location on the drive sticks for easy startup.